Top 10 Stories of Last Week! 24/09/2018

This week’s news includes; Elon Musk steps down as Tesla chairman, Facebook data breach,  Michael Kors buys Versace, Jamie Oliver’s businesses take losses

Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page and Facebook page for regular posts of important headlines. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.

Opinion articles of the week:

  • Legal Cheek : Is the introduction of a bill to tackle online hate crime necessary?
  • BBC News: What is a “Canada style” trade deal?
  • City A.M Don’t play FTSE with your reputation

1. ELON MUSK TWEET TROUBLE

Elon Musk is to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay $20 million to settle a fraud case.  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Elon Musk for a tweet about taking Tesla private.

In August 2018, Elon Musk tweeted that he was potentially taking Tesla private when share prices hit $420. This would have involved a $72 billion shareholder buyout, the largest in corporate history. It transpired however, that no such funding had occurred. Rather, Musk had held talks with a Saudi sovereign wealth fund who expressed interest but without any formal commitment. As a company official of a listed company, all public statements made must be true. Based on the circumstances, the SEC deemed this tweet false and misleading.

Musk has 45 days from the point of agreement to step down as chairman. Musk cannot be reappointed for at least three years and a new independent chairman will be appointed. Elon Musk will be allowed to stay on as CEO. He must however, comply with company communications procedures. The SEC Chairman deemed this settlement in the best interest of markets and Tesla shareholders. (CNBC)

Check out our company watch page on Tesla for more on the company and how its share price has moved.

2. FACEBOOK DATA BREACH

Facebook announced that almost 50 million users were affected by a data breach. Hackers were able to exploit the “View As” feature on the website. A total of 90 million users are thought to have been potentially been affected so were logged out of their accounts. Users were prompted to log back in on Friday. The “View As” feature on Facebook had flaws in the coding. This allowed them to login to other accounts and control them.

The full extent of the breach is still being unravelled as the investigation has just begun. It is not clear yet who is responsible for the attack. Facebook has not disclosed where the affected users are located although the Irish data regulator and the police have been notified.  Facebook’s share price fell by 3% in response to the news. (Tech Crunch)

3. MICHAEL KORS BUYS VERSACE

Michael Kors has acquired Gianni Versace for $2.2 billion and has big plans for growth. It aims to increase the number of Versace stores by 50% up to 300. It also aims to double annual sales to $2 billion. Michael Kors holdings Ltd will change its name to Capri Holdings Ltd. Michael Kors seems set on domination of the market as it also acquired Jimmy Choo earlier this year for $1.2 billion.

In recent years, Versace has failed to increase sales growth significantly. It has been unable to break into oe of the fastest growing markets, China, where LVMH and Kering dominate the market. Founded in 1978, Versace is still owned by the Versace family. They will receive a cool €150 million from the sale. (Bloomberg)

4. FOX MAKES WAY FOR COMCAST FOLLOWING AUCTION

21st Century Fox is selling its stake in Sky after losing an auction for the broadcaster to Comcast. Fox will sell its 39% share directly to Comcast. This shareholding is valued at £11.6 billion.

Two weeks ago, Comcast won a blind auction to acquire Sky with a bid of £30 billion. Sky’s directors have given their approval for the offer to be accepted. This deal is also intertwined with Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets. Disney had already given Fox approval to accept Comcast’s offer for their shareholding in Sky.

Had Fox won the auction they would have had to offload Sky News to get final approval. Fox’s attempted bid raised concerns of media plurality. The sale of their stake however, marks the end of Fox’s influence on Sky, which it had held since Sky’s inception in 1989. (The Independent)

5. ARGENTINA RECEIVES INCREASED LOAN

The IMF has loaned Argentina $57 billion to prevent a further fall in the Argentinean peso. The money was loaned to Argentina’s Central bank on the condition that it stops intervening to support the struggling currency. The substantial intervention has so far failed, at a cost of $16 billion. Under this agreement, the central bank may only make limited intervention when the peso falls below a certain threshold.  Despite a strong economic performance last year, a drought sent Argentina into recession. The Argentinean peso has lost 50% of its value in 2018 alone. Interest rates in Argentina are currently a staggering 60%.

Reuters explains Argentina’s economic crisis in five charts.

6. FEWER BANKING JOBS LEAVE UK THAN EXPECTED

Only 630 jobs in the financial sector have left the UK since the Brexit vote, much fewer than expected. A Reuters survey showed that a number of big banks have withheld from shifting staff, despite gloomy forecasts of a mass exodus after the vote. Goldman Sachs has already opened a new office in Frankfurt and plans to move 500 people to the continent. So far however, only around 100 jobs have been relocated. JP Morgan previously announced that 4,000 jobs could move but recently released a staff memo confirming that only “several dozen” employees would move.

The limited numbers are largely attributed to the lack of certain about our final deal with the EU. There is still the possibility that the UK could get a deal with EU. Politicians put the odds between a deal and no deal Brexit at 50-50. Crucially for financial services, any deal must include passporting rights. Passporting rights allow all countries in the EEA to do business in any other EEA state without need authorisation from each individual country.

If it is clear that no Brexit deal will be reached, banks have warned that more jobs will undoubtedly be relocated. This is estimated to be roughly 5800 financial service jobs. (Business Live)

7. BUPA BREACH

Bupa has been fined £175,000 after an employee stole details of over 500,000 customers and put them up for sale on the dark web. The rogue employee stole names, dates of birth and email addresses of 547,000 Bupa customers. It was not clear whether the data was successfully sold.

The ICO investigation found that Bupa failed to have sufficient safeguards in place to protect their customers data. The rogue employee was sacked and a warrant for his arrest has been issued. Bupa has since added new safeguards to protect data. (Sky News)

The breach occurred before the introduction of GDPR. Under GDPR, Bupa could have been fined a maximum of £480 million. For more on the regulation, check out our insight article.

8. SAVINGS ACCOUNTS: WALL STREET V HIGH STREET

Goldman Sachs has officially launched its retail bank, Marcus. Their new saving accounts will pay 1.5% a year, the highest rate available in the UK market. The account can be opened with just £1. Experts believe however, that other challenger banks will also increase their rates.

Investment banks are seeking to diversify their revenue streams as returns from investment banking stagnate. Marcus has already been successful in the US where it has taken $20 billion in deposits in just two years. 150 new staff have been hired at the UK branch. (The Telegraph)

9. CO-OP TRASHES PLASTIC

Supermarket Co-op is replacing all single use plastic bags with biodegradable bags. The new measure will be rolled out to roughly half of all UK stores initially, then to all 2600.This forms part of its new “ethical strategy”, which will see a focus on combating food and plastic waste. Over 60 million plastic bags will be taken out of circulation. The bags will be replaced by compostable or multiple use bags. These new bags will cost 5p although bags for life will also be available for between 10p and £1.

Co-op is the 6th largest supermarket in the UK. It currently has over 6.6% of the market share and the group turned over £9.5 billion last year.

10. JAMIE OLIVER BUSINESS LOSSES

Jamie Oliver’s business empire has been struggling. His company, Jamie Oliver Group, posted a £20 million loss last year. His Jamie’s Italian restaurants have been at the helm of the decline. In February it was on the verge of bankruptcy following an 11% fall in sales. It was rescued through new funding but this resulted in the closure of 12 of 37 stores earlier this year. Oliver was also forced to close two of his Barbecoa restaurants in London. The company director blames a challenging market for the decline.

Jamie Oliver has had significant misfortune in his entrepreneurial endeavours. In the past four years alone, Oliver has lost £90 million of his wealth. He also revealed that throughout his career, 40% of his business ventures failed.

The saving grace for his company has been in his media and publishing business. Oliver’s TV shows and cook books generated increased revenue of £32 million with underlying profits rising to £8 million. (The Guardian)

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